Part 1 – Somebody has just got to hear my story.
For those who know me, know a ‘Trevor’ story. For those who don’t, it’s just all around good. I’m start by building excitement o get everyone listening then I’ll forgot what to do with my arms, and usually realize that my story is not nearly as exciting as I’ve made it out to be.
Well I am realizing the stories I want to tell people, I want to tell in person. “I don’t really want to write this down. I don’t really want to take the time to write this down. I want to tell you how I feel.” –Mos Def. But it needs to be heard.
I love my life, my work, and my village. Everyday I have a moment I wish I could share. Like giving my home stay brothers a soccer ball; or telling my supervisor, and best friend here, that this country needs people like him who do work because work needs to be done, not because someone is paying them; or conversing with a deaf man in my village; or watching two kids run off with my bike so they can wash it in the stream for me. And it just feels good to hear my name or be welcomed within the community. The who time I’ve been at my site has been quick and long, I’ve been motivated and had days I didn’t want to get out of bed, I’ve been mentally spot on and also so confused that I cant speak any language, English or Swahili. There is a lot to absorb and a lot to be done. I wrote a story the best way I can describe what a day ‘feels’ like.
Remember what it is like to be a child. Take a moment and reflect was it was like. To run just to run. To wait all day just for a chance to feel the wind on your face as you run to the closest creek, or lake, or stream. To where trees where the only thing around, beside you. Just you. And all alone you take a look and see an spot you can jump the creek without getting wet. But it’s further than you’ve ever jump. The water is cold and you don’t want to make the long trip back home. But you do it. You take the chance. You grab yourself, make sure you have all of yourself and you squat down, push your in the dirt and go. You take the leap, just to see what is on the other side. For a moment you question how far you will make it, but then the moment passes and you land. Your body full of electricity. your heart trying to explode out of your chest. And you glance back at that leap. I did it, you say. Lets see what’s on the other side.
That is what my life is like. Everyday I have challenges, uncertainty. Fear and doubt. Every day. Can I really help these people? I want to, boy do I want to, but do I have enough guidance to make an impact. Can I clear the creek? I know if I don’t make it I’ll just get wet, walk home, and dry off and be fine and continue on. But I wont ever know what is on that other side of the creek and I won’t have made an impact in the village. What is out there? What my potential is. And what I can do. So I jump. I keep jumping. Everyday I rise to the occasion. And when I jump everyday, my life is a story of how I stood up.
Part II Wants
I like. I want. I need.
Ningependa. Ninataka. Ninahitaji.
I would like, I want, and I need. All three of these will get you a soda in my village. The Germans have a saying, child -“Ich will, Ich will” Mother -“Will ist Tod.” (“I want I want.” “Will is dead.”). The Germans don’t always have the nicest way of teaching (anyone read Grimm?).
I say, that your own happiness, in Kenya, living in a 3rd world country, in life, is under your own control. I have everything I need, I have more than I need and I see people every day with less. I ask, where does your water comes from, how did it get there. If I ask anyone here, they would tell me, it got here because of me. I carried it here. Some would tell me, I dug a hole in the riverbed till I found water, or from a man-made water reservoir and I filled my buckets and carried it on my back home. Daily. And it’s hard. This is village life.
The severity of life makes my work valuable; a little work can go a long way. My wants are to help, the same reason I’m here. I want to provide an opportunity for these people.
I have more than I need to be happy here. My happiness is in my control to find. I feel this is more difficult for me to realize in American, mostly because there are so many things telling us what me should want, or need or like. In the bush of rural Kenya, there are very few external influences and when the rain comes is the biggest influence here.
Part III Some will never get the chance<
In America there is access to almost any information. Any idea or topic, just pull the phone out and Google it. In rural Kenya, I can’t usually get past the google search page on my laptop, but there is still a lot of information, just one topic. Life. That’s all there is, is life. Life is hard. Famine exists. Water is far; drought is long. But people are living life.
I’m writing this blog to show two points of view. One the limited opportunities that exist in the village and the lives of the poor, and how many Americans will never get the chance to experience it. In the area, there are very few opportunities for the youth. If their family has a little money, they can get educated. If they finish secondary school, they are educated living in an area where 95% of the labor is small-scale farming. If the family has enough money the youth can move to a more developed area, but when families have multiple children going to school and their means of income is their farm, this is rare.
It is also rare that someone in America can really see how much we have. We have high levels of unemployment and its difficult to find a job, I cannot deny this and I still agree this is a large issue. We have schools that are underfunded and teachers that are underpaid, but our school system still encourages free thinking and to take risks (entrepreneurship). To live in this area shows how much life people have, not just the rich or the fortunate, but people.
To end I was told a Kamba saying that I really enjoy. It says that when you stumble, to take what you stumbled on and use it to build your house. I’ve got a big house to build.